Table of Contents
- Form and Sound Devices
- Figurative and Sound Devices
William Wordsworth is an English poet in the Romantic period and a poet of nature. He is an early leader of Romanticism and to Wordsworth, nature is an essential element so he often shows his appreciation towards nature in his poems. Robert Frost is an American poet and he often writes about intricated life problems and decisions through the use of the subject ‘nature’ in his poems. Wordsworth depicts himself wandering in a innumerous field of golden daffodils by a lake alone to please his desolate, empty soul from the tedious urban life in the poem “Daffodils”. While in “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Frost, the poet stops by the woods to admire and enjoy the picturesque snowscape on a snowy evening despite there is still a lengthy distance to travel. Through the usage of certain form, sound, figurative and structural devices, both poets delineate the heavenly beauty of nature with Wordsworth stating that nature is so graceful that it comforts one’s lonely soul and Frost viewing nature as a enchanting siren that entices passerby, leaving the readers feeling the instant jubilation and the admiration of the poets towards nature.
Form and Sound Devices
Through the application of form devices such as rhyme scheme and meter as well as sound devices like euphony and alliteration, Wordsworth and Frost promulgates a nature as exceedingly ravishing. “Daffodils” has a rhyme scheme of ‘ABABCC’ and variates similarly throughout the poem. The end of each stanza rhymes like the end of a Shakespearean sonnet (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008); sonnets are usually used for expressing love and affection. Here, Wordsworth manifests his worship of the natural world due to its inimitable pulchritudinous. Also, the rhyme scheme contributes a simple and pleasing sense of rhythm, increasing the pace of the poem when reciting it, generating a pleasant, carefree image. The readers intuits the pleasure of the poet when wandering in the field of daffodils, and wonders these flowers are enthralling to what extent to make the poet to praise the nature as if it is godlike.
On the other hand, Frost uses a rhyme scheme of ‘AABA / BBCB / CCDC / DDDD’; the third line of each stanza rhymes with the next stanza. This deliberate arrangement is to mimic the motion of falling snow. (Delaney, 2014) The picture of snow falling down one after one emerge in the readers’ mind and the readers will imagine the picturesque snow scene the poet saw in the woods. Unpredictably, Frost did not follow this pattern in the last stanza, but to repeat the D rhyme. This disposal is to notify the readers that snow is no longer falling, and embodies a sense of despondency. The impression of finality in the poem reflects how the poet is disheartened because the snowfall stopped and Frost is no longer able to enjoy the wonderful snowfall. With the sense of tranquility and completeness in the poem, the readers reckon how mesmerising that scene was for a person to be disappointed because there was not anymore of it.
Moreover, “Daffodils” has a iambic tetrameter; tetrameter is predominantly associated with ballads and nursery rhymes and they have a brisk pace. This adds to the exuberance that nature brings to the poet, as Frost is ebullient when he lays his eyes on the daffodils. This supplements the simple and pleasing sense of rhythm and instills the readers with the jocundity of the poet, allowing them to receive the contentment from Wordsworth. Similarly, “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening” also has a iambic tetrameter, making the poem sounding like a joyous song, reflecting the gloat of Frost towards the snowfall. This also links the four stanzas together with the subconscious momentum (Belarafon, 2012), imitating the continuous movement of snow. This reflects the relaxation Frost gets from the nature world, and also enticed by it. This application of iambic tetrameter permits the readers to comprehend the merriment of the poet.
Furthermore, in Wordsworth’s ‘”Daffodils”, he “wandered lonely as a Cloud” that “floats on high o’er vales and Hills”. The use of euphony in these lines depicts the repeated gentle, elegant movement of the daffodils in the breeze. Wordsworth is deeply immersed in such prepossessing stance of the daffodils, causing him to slow his pace, admiring these golden flowers with a lissome gait. The readers felt as if they were in that scene, also “wandering as a Cloud”, and appreciates the impressive view that Wordsworth mentions. In Frost’s poem, the speaker “watches his woods fill up with snow”. Euphony is also present in this line. The employment of euphony yields a smoothing and melodious effect in the poem, creating a composed, relaxed mood. It demonstrates how the poet is alone and away from corruption and is at peace (Sites.google.com, n.d.) to esteem the sightliness of the snowscape. The readers appears to be attracted by the soft sounds of this line, and Frost’s determination to stop by and enjoy this graceful snow scene becomes and profound impression for them.
Additionally, in “Daffodils”, Wordsworth “gazed and gazed” at the daffodils as he is wandering in the field. Alliteration is in attendance in this line and the intensification of the word ‘gazed’ shows how much and long Wordsworth has been looking at them. This reflects how alluring this ‘host of golden Daffodils’ is and has the ability to attract a person for that long. The readers acknowledge the great amount of appreciation that Wordsworth presents to the daffodils, and how much he is in love with them as he is unable to take his eyes off them. In “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening”, Frost limns the wood as “dark and deep’. The presence of alliteration in this phrase stresses and displays the image of the woods and makes it especially memorable for the readers. The words ‘dark’ and ‘deep’ connotes to mysterious and unfathomable, therefore the woods may be distant, dangerous and rather seductive. This suggests that Frost is strongly enticed into the stunning view of the woods fill up with snow. However, if he stays too long, he may be freeze to death or get lost on his way home because it is getting to nighttime. (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008) The readers sense the seductiveness and the danger of the nature world, as people cannot pull their sight off that stunning view even if they have other duties to finish.
Figurative and Sound Devices
Wordsworth and Frost also portrays the magnificence of nature with the usage of figurative devices such as semantic field of nature and hyperbole, also structural devices like caesura and enjambment. The semantic field of nature is present in both poems. In “Daffodils”, it includes words such as ‘clouds’, ‘vales’, ‘hills’, ‘daffodils’, ‘lake’, ‘trees’, ‘breeze’, ‘stars’, ‘milky way’ and ‘bay’; In “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening”, it includes ‘woods’, ‘snow’, ‘lake’, ‘evening’, ‘wind’ and ‘flake’.
Wordsworth uses the semantic field to attest that ‘daffodils’ can be found through the nature world such as ‘beside the lake’ and ‘beneath the trees’, showing their strong vitality. This also implies that Wordsworth is craving for the value of life and also yearns for superior life. Besides, Wordsworth associates ‘daffodils’ as ‘stars that shine’ and ‘twinkle on the milky way’ to underscore its dazzling existence, highlighting the fact that ‘daffodils’ is the essence of the natural world. The readers understands the importance of daffodils to Wordsworth, as he seeks consolation from it. On the other hand, Frost uses the semantic field to depict the ‘woods fill up with snow’ during a frosty, winter evening. ‘Snow’ is white and it suggests pureness and saintliness; while ‘woods’ that are dark may suggest the mysteriousness in the woods. This insinuantes that the nature world is mystical but hidden with simpliness and genuineness; “lovely, dark and deep”. This reveals the abstruness of nature, promulgating that nature is obscure and mystical, enticing people to make them want to find out more of it. The readers realises nature is like a siren, it attracts and drags you deeper and deeper into the mystery, and maybe even make you to be inextricable from all this.
Wordsworth describes that the daffodils are ‘stretched in never-ending line’ and he can see ‘ten thousand at a glance’. This is an expression of the poet filled with wonder and excitement, denoting to the readers that this is the impact that the numerous fields of daffodils give you. The readers are immersed into the scene and understands that nature provides an ultimate positive influence on the human mind. Meanwhile, Frost states that he watched the snowfall during the ‘darkest evening’. This lays emphasis on the time and environment when Frost watched the snowfall. The word ‘darkest’ connotes to potential danger and negative emotions, suggesting that the poet may be watching the snowfall when he is feeling ultimately gloomy and at a pitch dark, sinister environment. This entails that the snowfall in the woods is indeed engaging, allures the speaker to watch it even in such deficient environment, and even comforts his somber soul. The readers wonder what persuades the speaker in to this and recognises that it even has a strong power to illuminante one’s dimmed spirit.
Additionally, Wordsworth saw ‘a host, of golden Daffodils’ in his journey. The caesura in the line makes the readers to pay attention on the word ‘host’, that usually associates with angels (a host of angels). This hints that the poet thinks that ‘daffodils’ is celestial and angelic, which is very religious. The connects to the word behind it, ‘golden’; Wordsworth did not describe the daffodils as ‘yellow’, but ‘golden’, suggesting that daffodils are god-like as well dignified and regal. Through the magnification of Wordsworth towards the daffodils, the modern day readers may understand the importance of nature to a human’s mind; while it may evoke dissatisfaction of the original readers because they are very religious and they can not accept that a vulnerable, tiny flower can be compared to an angel or the mighty god and it may be considered as a blasphemy. Frost portrays the woods as ‘lovely, dark and deep’. The caesura in the phrase separates two contrasting thoughts, ‘lovely’ and ‘dark’, ‘deep’. The word ‘lovely’ connotes to pureness; Contrastingly, words such as ‘dark’ and ‘deep’ imply danger and enigma. Adding together, it expresses that from the surface, the woods simply just looks attractive and splendid; but it is also full of danger and enigmatic since it fascinates a person and he cannot easily draw his sight away from this perilous beauty even if he has obligations that requires completion. The readers may be frightened by this uncovered reality of nature yet they also want to know what this type of beauty looks like.
Likewise, Wordsworth comments that ‘the waves beside them danced; but they (daffodils) / out-did the sparkling waves in glee’. The poet compares ‘dancing waves’ to daffodils, but ‘they out-did’ the waves. The enjambment creates a slight suspense for the readers making them wanting to know what do the daffodils do next. Additionally, the enjambment here carries the idea of the daffodils ‘out-did’ the sparkling waves is beyond and continuous; indicating that daffodils will always ‘out did’ the ‘sparkling waves’ with ‘glee’. This suggest that in Wordsworth’s heart, daffodils are better than everything else; no matter how illustrious the other things are. Readers are understands the poet loves daffodils at a very high extent, but not every readers may fully agree with this as everyone has other favourable things. At the same time, Frost admires the snowscape and the ‘only other sound’s the sweep / of easy wind and downy flake’. The appliance of enjambment here expresses that the only sounds that Frost can hear other from the bell while adoring this delicate snowscape is the ‘easy wind’ and ‘downy flake’. This depicts the silence of the woods and how greatly he was focused into the admiration of the snowscape. The words ‘easy wind’ and ‘downy flake’ connotes to peacefulness and hints that the woods is the source of solace for the desolated speaker. This appeals to the readers that nature brings a sense of serenity to a person’s spirit, comforts their soul and eventually heals their wounded heart.